Patients who had a Knee or Hip replacement surgery must take precautions to protect their new hips or knees. Although the cost of hip replacement operation in India is comparatively cheaper, it is still a major surgical procedure. It is important to take necessary precautions after the replacement surgery to make sure that the implants last long.
Here are some tips and measures that can help with post-surgery healing and decrease the risk of injuries such as dislocation.
- Use a Walker or Cane
A walker or cane helps ensure that a person does not fall and dislocate or damage the new knee or hip. Walkers and canes also signal to strangers to be more cautious. Strangers in public areas are generally less likely to bump, a person using a cane or walker.
Most patients are able to decrease dependence on their canes and walkers over time.
- Treat the Pain and swelling
It is very important that replacement patients get adequate pain relief. Patients who undergo uncontrolled pain find it very difficult to participate in rehabilitation exercises and can even lead to chronic pain.
Some patients do not want to take pain medications as they worry about potential side effects or fear of addiction. The patients can talk to their doctors about their concerns and come up with a pain management plan that minimizes side effects and risks.
Especially in case of knee replacement, swelling needs to be taken care of properly.
Knee swelling after replacement surgery is uncomfortable and can restrict the range of motion. People can treat swelling by applying cold packs and elevating the affected leg for 20 to 30 minute intervals or as directed by their surgeons and based on their situation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to control pain and also help reduce inflammation.
- Plan Ahead
In the initial weeks after hip or knee replacement surgery, many people are tired and prone to falling. Patients can maximize rest time and reduce the chance of falls by planning ahead. For an example, one can plan the day in such a way that it can minimize the number of trips up and down stairs or in and out of a car.
Keeping essential items like the TV remote control, phone, and tissues where they can be easily accessed, and they don’t need to rush for such things. Some patients attach small bags or baskets to the front of their walkers to ensure light necessities are always with them, to make their accommodation easy.
- Obey Movement Restrictions
Hip replacement patients are advised not to perform certain activities.
- When lying or sitting, DON’T cross your legs over each other at the knees or ankles.
- When lying down, DON’T turn your leg inward. Keep your toes pointed directly at the ceiling. Or, when sleeping, lay on the side that did NOT have surgery.
- When you’re sleeping, put a pillow between your legs.
- DON’T bend forward to reach your feet.
- DON’T swivel on the ball of your foot.
- AVOID bending so that the angle made by your body and leg is no sharper angle than an “L.”
- AVOID sitting with your knees together and feet apart.
After a Knee Replacement:
- Bend your knee – but do it gently — and keep doing it.
- DON’T sit without moving for more than 45-minutes.
- When rising from a chair, slip to the front of the seat. Then, use the chair arms as leverage to rise to standing.
- When getting dressed, put your pants or pantyhose first on the leg with the new knee.
- On stairs: Going up, lead with the non-surgical leg first. Going down, lead with the leg that was operated on. DON’T be afraid to take one step at a time, at least, for a while.
- When sleeping, lie flat on your back. DON’T put a pillow between your knees. It’s important to keep the knee straight when at rest.
Communicate Priorities to the Physical Therapist
A physical therapist will curate a rehabilitation program to help a patient reach certain goals. For example, if a person wishes to bike long distances, then a physical therapist will teach exercises to prepare the knee or hip for bike peddling.
It does not matter what the patients’ goals, physical therapy is essential for a replacement’s overall success. People who attend their physical therapy appointments and do their prescribed exercises tend to recover more quickly and have better outcomes than those who do not.
Remember Long-Term Care
As per surgeons knee replacement in India, actually depends on patients long term precautions. Hence, people are advised to:
- Regular, physical therapy exercises are must maintain strong muscles around the knee, which will support the artificial joint.
- Try to avoid infections. Infectious bacteria can enter the body through any tiny cut, wound, major dental procedure, or other surgical procedures which can eventually reach the artificial knee, resulting in infection of the artificial replacement. Once it’s infected, artificial knees may require surgery.
- Follow up with the doctors regularly. People are typically asked to follow up with the orthopaedic doctor every year or two to check on the artificial knee or hip. These appointments can help detect problems with the artificial replacement before the patient notices symptoms.